Many countries have begun to adopt low-carbon, plant-based diets as national food policies

With national decarbonization plans calling for a focus on food-related greenhouse gas emissions, the four countries have put plant-based diets front and center in domestic climate policies.

It took 26 COPs (international climate change conferences where world leaders come together to discuss decarbonization plans and commitments) before food was officially included on the agenda, finally placing diet policy at the heart of climate action and dialogue.

A United Nations report linking livestock production to greenhouse gas emissions was first released in 2006, a few years after mainstream headlines highlighted the link and told readers that reducing meat and dairy consumption was the biggest way to lower one’s carbon footprint. . Scientists around the world have designed a planet-healthy diet called the Eat-Lancet Diet Report, which calls for a 50% reduction in red meat intake. But national government policies to reduce meat consumption have been slow to implement, creating a minefield that many politicians and bureaucrats don’t want to tread.

Amid a worsening climate crisis, it is increasingly difficult for governments to ignore the problem. The urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is an increasingly urgent priority for world leaders and cannot be achieved without addressing food systems and what’s on our plates, which is why national decarbonization plans increasingly emphasize plant-based diets. Below, we highlight four countries that have already adopted low-carbon initiatives.

City governments around the world are increasingly making plant-based commitments.

The city government is also involved. Twenty cities around the world have signed the Plant Based Treaty, including Los Angeles in the United States, Edinburgh in Scotland, Didim in Turkey, and 15 different cities in India. The non-binding treaty advocates reducing meat and dairy consumption to combat the consequences of the climate crisis.

New York City is also making policy changes around more sustainable diets, thanks to several initiatives from the city’s mayor’s office, including support for a $44 million initiative led by the American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM) to Healthcare practitioners in the city are providing training on the benefits of plant-based diets, and 11 other public hospitals have begun offering a selection of 14 plant-based meals as the default choice for inpatients.